Health officials investigate flu outbreak - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Health officials investigate flu outbreak

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Nashville - Eleven people have died in Berrien County over the last two weeks, but only two of those can be blamed on the flu. "It doesn't look like the flu had any part in the other nine deaths," said Dr. Lynne Feldman, District Health Director.

Epidemiologists found that some of those deaths were caused by pneumonia, others by chronic disease, and all of the individuals were between the ages of 76 and 93. Only two deaths were a direct result of the flu. "There were other complications, we were dealing with an elderly population, so there were other conditions present before flu season ever hit," said Jeneine Godfrey, Epidemiologist.

One of the individuals who died from the flu was vaccinated, but the other wasn't. Nursing Director Darren Pierce says the county has been an increase in flu this year. "I think we've had 28 positive cases of the flu since January 1," said Pierce.

But currently, there's no one in the hospital or nursing home with the flu. If someone is admitted, the hospital has strict procedures in place to keep the illness from spreading. "I've done standard respiratory isolation for anyone that was diagnosed with the flu and I had one wing dedicated to the flu when we had such a severe outbreak," said Pierce.

Hospital and district health officials are making sure every step is taken to keep the disease from taking another life.

posted by ashley.harper@walb.com